If you have ever used analgesics in your massage office, had them used on you, or sold them in your office, you are most likely aware of the industry leader in cryotherapy – Biofreeze. But Biofreeze is not the only option on the market. Sombra is another cryotherapy option for massage therapists that you may have seen in your massage industry magazine, or had slipped in your massage convention goodie bag.
So, which is better? What else is out there? Here is a very quick review of their products and where you can purchase them for your office.
I will attempt to compare apples to apples here. Biofreeze is commonly listed as a type of cryotherapy and pain relief so I will compare that to the Sombra Cool Therapy Pain Relieving gel. Sombra also makes a warm therapy gel.
Sombra Active ingredient – Menthol, USP 6.0% (External Analgesic)
BiofreezeActive ingredients – Natural Menthol USP 3.5% (Cooling Pain Reliever)
Sombra Inactive Ingredients – Aloe vera extract, carbomer, decyl polyglucose, deionized water, grapefruit seed extract, green tea extract, lemon peel extract, queen of the prairie extract, rose water, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate (preservative), vegetable glycerin, witch hazel, yucca extract.
Biofreeze Inactive Ingredients – carbomer, FD&C blue #1, FD&C yellow #5, glycerine, herbal extract (Ilex paraguariensis), isopropyl alcohol USP, methylparaben, natural camphor USP (for scent), propylene glycol, silicon dioxide, triethaolamine (TEA), purified water USP
Like Soothing Touch, Sombra also hails from the “Land of Enchantment” –New Mexico. (Here is my of Soothing Touch) Sombra does not have the widespread availability of Biofreeze. Unlike Biofreeze, you can not pick it up at your local Walmart, but Amazon allows it to be delivered to your door.
There are different options for application:
Buy it by the gallon!
It has a lemon scent. And, yes, there is an underlying medicinal scent that many analgesics have, including Biofreeze. Sombra contains no artificial colors, fragrances, or alcohol. What I really liked is the fact that the “gel” is actually a lotion. From a massage therapy standpoint, this is a huge plus. It allows you to massage it on and work a little if need, not too long though, it does absorb quickly.
Performance Health, Inc. is the owner of Biofreeze. They are based out of Ohio (the first state to regulate massage therapy). Performance Health is also the owners of Theraband.
Biofreeze has been on the retail shelves of many chiropractors and massage therapists for years. It is typically one of the top retail sellers for massage professionals. Recently, I have seen that it for sale in most pharmacies and large retail stores. So, if you need something today, Biofreeze will be your best option.
Biofreeze absorbs quickly, very quickly. Classic Biofreeze has very little workability, which is great and ideal in certain circumstances. Typically, I find it is perfect to apply at the very end of a massage. However, they now make a cream version that has more workability. Biofreeze is available in many application forms: tubes, a roll-on, sprays, single application packets, and patches). Performance Healthy makes terrific marketing and displays for massage therapists that choose to sell Biofreeze in their offices.
There are so many different options for application:
On the Go Packets (with display)
Honestly, I cannot choose one. As far as actual pain relief performance, I feel they are even. Truthfully, I prefer the ingredient list of Sombra and really like its workability. Biofreeze has so many options for easy application and will always be a favorite for massage therapists and chiropractors. So, take your pick!
These are just two of many analgesics on the market. There are other effective products I did not cover above that you may want to look into to see if they are right for you or your clients.
What is your favorite product? Sombra or Biofreeze? Or do you have something else you prefer (Penetrex, DoTerra Deep Blue, or Young Living Oil’s PanAway)? I would love to know!
Advanced Massage Techniques – Massage Therapy Continuing Education
My aunt had me try sombra because of my MS. My pain is always threw the spine and when my husband rubbed it in, within minutes it was like having a therapist in between my vertebraes hugging each individual. I was always having to take my pain meds to dual it. But with this I was pain free all evening.. I would recommend this to anyone.. love it
I like Muscle Ice from Peaceful Mountain. They have more natural ingredients than others.
Thank you for your opinions. As a physical therapist and running coach, I have been using and recommending Sombra for years. Like you, I like the workability of it, and I think it has a longer lasting effect. I actually like the smell of it.
Thanks for sharing. I need to get to Sombras site to see if they have any new products. I like to give clients a goody bag with samples in the winter months too 😉
I’ve had repeated problems with urticaria (hives) and I find that Sombra Cool Therapy has been great for giving quick relief. My wife’s doctor introduced us to Sombra for treating the pain that accompanies diabetic neuropothy which worked very well for her.
Thank you for sharing your experience!
my 5yr old granddaughter has recently be dianoised with benign hypermobility syndrome and I had someone memtion the Sombra lotion and I was wondering if this might help with her pain?
Hi Kathy@ Because of her age, I would ask her doctor before using it. I hope that something works to give her comfort.
As a tennis professional and a sports trainer, I can say that I use both Biofreeze and Sombra (both cool & warm therapies) but, I MIX Biofreeze and Sombra together and it is absolutely fabulous! For tennis elbow, rotator cuff injuries, ankle sprains, and other muscle strains, it works wonders.
I like Super Blue Stuff as well – it works very well on inflamation and muscle sprains/strains.
I also recently started using Penetrex and it is really good. It has MSM/DMSO which really works well on muscle injuries.
Both Sombra, Biofreeze and Penetrex are available online. Just GOOGLE the brand and you will find multiple websites where they can be bought
What retain store in the 92109 area can I find the sombra bio-freeze product?
I would try searching for a massage therapy supply store in the area. Massage therapy colleges also sell supplies to the public. You can also try a massage online wholesaler, such as http://www.massagewarehouse.com.
Biofreeze is actually now available at Walmart for a really decent price.